Food is at the centre of everything we do – we’re a restaurant business, after all. We’re passionate about putting quality food on plates and constantly experiment in our innovation kitchens, searching for ways to improve and adapt the menus of our brands.
Food safety is paramount in all our restaurant and supply chain operations at the Big Table Group. 99% of our restaurant kitchens have received 4- and 5-star ratings on inspection under the Food Standards Agency Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. And through our internal audit programme, we have raised the standard even further by introducing our own 6-star rating system across all our brands that reinforces industry-leading food safety practices.
All our suppliers are required to have comprehensive traceability systems and be able to demonstrate due diligence on the safety, integrity and quality of our food and drink. This includes policy compliance on issues such as irradiation, genetic modification and artificial additives.
Due to recent supply chain challenges we are currently using a plantain on our menu that contains genetically modified soya oil for a short period of time.
We pride ourselves on knowing where our key ingredients come from and how they have been produced by people who care as much about their social and environmental impacts as we do. We also believe that understanding this provenance creates connections with different places and cultures. Read our Magnifica Cachaça case study here.
Provenance has to be assured by transparency of information and ensuring that the ingredients used are authentic in their quality and heritage. Food authenticity is hugely important to us as this provides assurance and maintains the trust that our guests have in our brands. Our investment in data intelligence systems allows us to work with our suppliers and producers to ensure our ingredients are free from adulteration and prevent food fraud.
As a leading restaurant chain, we are always striving to have menus that offer a well-balanced choice of dishes ranging from healthier options to the more indulgent and celebratory. We believe that our guests should be able to make informed food and drink choices through simple, honest and clear information on our menus, websites and delivery platforms.
Our approach in developing healthier options is guided by the programmes set by Government for sugar, salt and calorie reduction and we are committed to reducing these nutrients wherever possible without compromising the safety, quality and taste of our dishes.
The development of our children’s menus draws from Government targets, independent guidance from family organisations and industry best practice to ensure dishes are nutritious, balanced and still appeal to children. We will continue to focus on further improving their nutritional value by keeping salt, added sugar and saturated fat to a minimum and banning the use of artificial additives including colours and flavourings. We also support the 5 a day fruit and vegetables message and offer a portion of fruit and/or vegetables wherever possible in starters, main courses and desserts.
In addition, we have a Children’s Product Development policy to ensure that all criteria relating to nutritional content, product integrity, quality and marketing is adopted consistently by our food development teams and suppliers.
All suppliers are required to provide full allergy information on any product supplied to the Big Table Group including assessment of allergy cross-contamination in line with the latest Government Food Information Regulations. We have invested in a menu management system that ensures any recipe changes made to our dishes, allergen and nutrition information are automatically updated throughout the system and on our menus. This means that we can provide information to our guests in a user-friendly way.
Our restaurant teams are fully trained on the company’s standard operating procedure for allergen management and each restaurant has allergen champions for all shifts to ensure guests are supported and well informed. Allergy information is provided on all our menus, websites and on request in restaurants.
We will always ensure that vegetarian, vegan and plant-based options are available across all our menus. Our core brands are accredited by the Vegetarian Society who provide us with independent certification on vegetarian and vegan dishes to provide additional reassurance to those guests who wish to choose these dishes. Information on the suitability of dishes for vegetarian and vegan diners are available on our brand websites, menus and also on request in our restaurants.
Nestled in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro State, northwest of the City, you’ll find Las Iguanas’ sugar cane fields, part of the sprawling Fazenda do Anil plantation, the home of Magnifica Cachaça. Cachaça is the spirit of Brazil, distilled from fresh sugar cane juice and the basis of the classic Caipirinha cocktail. There are over 5,000 producers across Brazil, ranging from artisanal makers to industrial scale distillers.
Two decades ago the Las Iguanas team began searching for a premium Cachaça to take pride of place on their bars, and their travels led them to the door of Joao Luiz de Faria, who began distilling his Magnifica (or Magnificent) Cachaça back in the mid-eighties in one of only a handful of traditional copper triple pot stills or ‘alambiques’ left in the country. A partnership was born, a sugar cane field was commandeered for Las Iguanas, and production began on the first shipment of Las Iguanas Magnifica Cachaça in 2003.
Magnifica production is based on sustainable processes and on minimising its impact on nature. The main energy source is steam, generated from burning the dry leftovers of the sugarcane pressing. CO2 liberated through this process is recaptured through the growth of the plantation, leaving a virtually neutral carbon footprint. The liquid leftovers from distillation are used as fertilizers, returning the organic material from the sugar cane to the earth. The trees from the estate are preserved as well as the pure mountain water sources.
The sugarcane is harvested manually and is pressed while still fresh; the press driven by a centenary steam engine. The fresh sugarcane juice is then sent to the fermentation vats and fermented in a natural process without any additives. Following distillation in the alambique, the Cachaça is aged in vats of Brazilian ipê, and repurposed American oak barrels on the estate.
The result is a range of sustainably produced, award-winning artisanal spirits which take pride of place on the Las Iguanas menu and, muddled with fresh limes and sugar, make their award-winning Caipirinhas.